Class of 2012 Intro: Jordon Granger

Class of 2012 Intro: Jordon Granger

The Saint Louis University basketball program hasn't had much success in recent years with recruiting local talent, but associate head coach Porter Moser has worked hard in recent months to land two of the top local players in the Class of 2012.

The Billikens were the first to offer a scholarship to Cardinal Ritter standout Cameron Biedscheid. Then SLU was the first school to extend an offer to Biedscheid's teammate with the St. Louis Eagles, Jordon Granger.

Granger is a 6-foot-8, 180-pound forward who is still under the radar going into his junior year at McCluer North High School in Florissant, Mo.

McCluer North is the same high school where B.J. Young is expected to play this winter and the school that produced Division I players in recent years like Anthony Booker (Iowa State/Southern Illinois), Femi John (SLU) and Torres Roundtree (Southern Illinois).

Stars coach Randy Reed predicted big things for Granger at the beginning of his freshman season, even though he would miss the year with a knee injury. After averaging 7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots during his sophomore season, it looks like Granger is ready for a breakout performance as a junior.

Granger, who turns 17 on Nov. 5, has seen an increase in his recruitment throughout the summer while playing with the Eagles' 16-and-under squad.

"It's been very positive," he said. "I know I have to keep working even harder to get seen even more on the circuit, though. But it's nice to get the looks I'm getting now. At least it shows I‘m getting good progress."

The youngster, who also carries a 3.6 grade-point-average, received his scholarship offer from Saint Louis after strong performances at the school's elite camp and team camp.

"When I got that, it was humbling to me," he said. "Being as young as I am and showing some potential that I will probably be a good player and SLU offered me I was very surprised and happy at the same time. At the same time I'm keeping my mind open to these other schools. I'll see what the future holds. I have a whole nother AAU circuit and a whole nother high school season, so I'll see where it takes me from there."

Granger is very familiar with SLU after attending several games last season, when the Billikens went 23-13 in their third season under coach Rick Majerus.

"The Elite Camp was fun," Granger said. "It was exciting because I was able to showcase my ballhandling skills and my outside jumper. There really wasn't anybody giving me boundaries, so I was able to show the different parts of my game. That was fun. And we got to play on the big court, too."

Granger said he has talked with Moser a lot.

"He told me he likes my attitude and the way I play on the court," Granger said. "He said I have matured a lot since last year. They said they want me to work on getting stronger because they want to see if my strength will increase even more. He said once my strength gets there that will help out my game a lot and I'll be able to endure more. He also said being able to handle the ball in certain situations because when you see guys you can take a big out on the wing and that helps out more.

"They also taught me a different way to set my picks. I used to stand up straight on my screens, so they told me how to get low and be able to get my guard open and roll to the basket and pick and pop because they run a lot of pick-and-pop offense. They said they like that about my game, because I have a nice mid-range jumper so they run the pick and pop a lot so I could help them out with that."

The McCluer North forward had an interesting experience at SLU's team camp when the Stars played against Scott County Central and Granger was matched up with Scott County standout Otto Porter.

"When I first saw him, I remembered seeing a picture of him on a website," Granger said. "I heard that he won a couple state championships and went to a lower-class school. When everybody was telling me about Otto Porter, when we stepped on the court, I took it as like a challenge. I knew the type of player that he was from what everybody was telling me."

Porter, who is entering his senior year at Scott County, is a similar-sized forward and has drawn recruiting attention from throughout the Midwest, including receiving a scholarship offer from Saint Louis U. Granger held his own in the matchup, but Porter was able to lead his team to a victory.

"When we were playing, I thought I was hanging with him for a while," Granger said. "But he is stronger than me and plus he has a couple skills that I don't have right now. That's being able to handle the ball all the time. He showed me different ways to keep his team in check. He's a great rebounder, also. He plays 100 percent hard every game and that pushes me to, in the future, play as hard as he does."

Granger said he was also to take the lessons he learned from playing against Porter and use those when he returned to the summer circuit with the Eagles. He is a versatile forward who has one of the best mid-range jumpers in the St. Louis area but can also help his team as a rebounder and defender.

"I first noticed I could shoot a mid-range around probably eighth grade," he said. "My dad used to have me in the gym a lot because he wanted me to play as a guard but I just started growing a lot real fast. I had to transfer to the post and now I'm starting to get back to my wing game. I guess that helps out a lot when I'm playing against certain teams because I can tear a zone up."

Those skills have translated into attention from schools throughout the country. He said recently that he in addition to Saint Louis U. he had interest from Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, UNLV, Missouri, Kansas State, Murray State, Wichita State, Missouri State, Detroit and Michigan.

Granger, who said his doctor told him he could possibly grow to be about 6-10, is a hard worker who has been spending a lot of time in the gym when not out on the court this summer with the Eagles. He said that this year in addition to playing basketball for McCluer North he will be joining the cross country team in the fall and the track team in the spring to work on his conditioning.

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